Hide Articles List

4 articles on this Page



HOUSES FOR WORKING MEN. jC THE revelationi lately made respecting the condition of Working-n*m's Houses in Bethnal Green and in ir some of the agricultural districts, together with the discussions which took place on the subject at the Social Science Congress at Edinburgh, last month, have induced us to give expression to our views on this important topic. Through the persistence and daring outspokenness of Dr. Moore, the medical officer of Bethnal-Green, a state of things there among the working classes has been made public which has horrified people from one end of tho king- om to another. Some of the daily papers have sent special correspondents into the district to make report upon the house accomodation and social condition of the inhabitants of the locality. These special cor- respondents have told us how a family of seven, eight, r nine members, occupy only one room for all domestic purposes, and how many deaths recently have bebn traced to the lack of room and fresh air. We have been informed that typhus and other fevers are al ways found in these localities, and that the mortality is as high as one in fourteen per annum. These and other facts are dreadful and sickening in their details, are now very generally known, through the earnest investigations cf medical men, clergymen, and newspaper correspondents. We rejoice that such a disgraceful condition of houses and people has been brought to light in spite of the opposition of parish Boards and their officers. May the poor miserable wretches thus crowded together, derive some benefit from all this parading of their poverty and suffering. But we would ask Is there nothing among our- selves answering to the filtbily crowded, unhealthy condition of the inhabitants of Bethnal-Green ? With- out pointing to other large towns in the Kingdom, we would direct attention just now exclusively to our own, where may be found a far greater number- ac- cording to population, of hovels called dwelling- houses, than in any city or town in England or Wales. If the Times or Daily Telegraph would send a special correspondent to -liertbyr, he might be taken into scores 'of places where sights and stenches far more dreadful than any described in connection with Bethnal Green would meet his senses. If Merthyr were larger than it is, or not so widely scattered, malignant fevers and epidemics would be always in our midst. We owe our comparative exemption from these scourges to the straggling manner in which some parts of the town are built. This is the only ex- planation that can be given of the degree of health enjoyed amongst our population. The housesin which the greater number of the working classes live are disgraceful in every sense they are small, crowded togetber; and unprovided with nny of the necessary accommodations,and in addition to all these evils there are the old grave yards in every direction, under the sidesofwhich housesare built for human beings to dwell in. In fact some of these dwelling places are litttle elie than so many Tnud holes, into" hieb mortal remains filter, to poison the atmosphere and destroy the lives of the inn.ates. By way of substantiating these statements allow us to refer to some of the miserable hovels on Tram Road Side South just above these abodes ot hard working men and their families is the Zion Chapel old burying ground, full to repletion of human remains. Every one vho has noticed anything of this locality, knows that after rainy weather, such as we have had within tha last fortnight, portions ot the soil of that burying grapijt^ are washed dowll around and even into some of tljoteidwelling places. This in addition to the dilapidated state of those cottages, and the absence of the ordinary provisions for cleanliness, explain the sickness and mortality which generally prevail there. Again, in the same neighbourhood, only a lew yards higher up Twynyrodin Is the Cnurch old burying place-built around certainly with a high wall, but contributing its full quota to the disease and mortality of the pour creatures who live around. It is a well ascertained fact that the water formerly used for domestic purposes by the inhabitants of the lower part o Twynvrodiq filtered through the old burying place. W; make this statement on the authority of a medical ge itlernan who has known Merthyr from his boyhood, and who gave us facts of a most awful character as proof of his assertion. Take another instance, the Taber- nacle burying ground is in the midst of a densely popula- ted neighbourhood, and lies almost over the very roofs of a large number of dwellings which must be more or le-a subject to the remarks we have made respecling the houses be'ow Zion chapel yard. We give these as samples only of the disgraceful condition of the houses of working-men in Merthyr. Other proofs in too jireat number might be adduced in confirmation of the remaiWwc have made. We might refer to the state of Caearaw-—in place of more than Augean filth, or mention miglft -be made of the Isle of Wight, of Quarry Row, of China, and a score of places or at- tention irdght be directed to the entire absence of drainage in a town of 50,000 inhabitants, or to the crowding together in tiny dens, having only one living and one sleeping room, of as many as light, nine, or ten human beings, of both sexes and all ages. And these again are only a tithe of the evils we might point out in the houses of our working classes. We know how these evils arose, and what explains in great part their continuance, it was through the absence of any power to restrain or guide the cupidity of those who built cottages. The power exists now, but then the evils aie so many and deep-rooted, that the existing power, if it possessed more of the needed enel-py, capnot Immediately uproot the evils. There are, however, a lew all important duties to which our Local Board can always attend. 1st.—They can construct ash-pits and dust-bins. These would save us from many filthy stenches and sights. (2).-They can insist upon privy accommodations being provided to all houses. We trust that those members of our Board who are large owners of cottage property will not any longer allow their self-interest to stand in the way of this very necessary moral as well as sanatory reform. (3.)-The Board can insist upon the scaven- "in" being properly done, and at such hours as not to allow the doing of it to be a nuisance. (4.)—The Board-oaght to have the old burying-grounds levelled and covered to a good depth with concrete. -If these things are attended to much will be done to improve the homes and health of our large labouring popula- tion. We would Urgently press these matters upon the Local Board they are matters which should be attended to before dire necessity compels attention, which then would be hurried, and given with the shame arising from the consciousness of public duty having been neglected till such neglect was no longer possible. MERTHYEt POLICK COURT. Monday.— (Before J. C. Eoicler and D. Erans, Esqs.) DISOItDERLIES.- Eleanor Lewis was charged with wandering about the street and soliciting hire. Priso- ner had not long) ago returned from penal servitude on a ticket of leavtf.— I he Bench sentenced her to 21 days' hard labour. Esther Griffiths was charged on the information of P.C. US, with smashing three panes in a window of the Golden Lion, Dynevor-stfeart, an.I using foul language in the public streets.—The otience was proved, and prisoner sentenced to 21 days' hard labour. NARROW ESCAPE OF A "Commercial."— Gwenllian Thomas and Susan Jones, the latter a married woman, both prostitutes, were brought up in custody charged with robbing a man who gave his name as Robert g Evans, traveller, of Edinburgh.—According to the pro- secutor's statement it would ap;. r that oil Saturday night last, about a quarter jutsi ten o'clock, he was walking along one of the streets v tbe neighbourhood of the Iron Bridge, when the piis. or Thomas came up with him and put bur harm withi i lis, and although he attempted to shake her from him, .e clung to him, and they walked together some distant when she suddenly ■ drew her arm from him and v ked otf; he then searched bin pocket, (the breast of an overcoat) and found that his purse containhv 1M in gold, and 18s. in silver, waa wanted." He daiv-d after the prisoner Thomas, overtook her, and seized her with a grip which did not release its hold till a police officer came to them.-P.S. Rees said From information which I received I went to Yaysgau on Saturday night, about half-past ten, and on my way thither, in Ivy Bush-lane, I met a woman named Charlotte Powell and the pri- soner Jones as soon as they met me Powell cried omt "that woman got the watch;" I asked her where it was, and she held out one in her hand, saying" here it is;" I then left them and went to the prosecutor, whom I found, having the prisoner Thomas in custody); he charged her with stealing his purse, and I then requested her to accompany me to the station, which she did on the way prosecutor described in her hearing the manner in which she had dealt with him, and she denied that she stole his purse, and also that she had taken hold of his arm I produce the purse as received from Jones, and the amount stated by the prosecutor is in it-41. 18s.; I afterwards apprehended the other priso- ner on the charge of aiding and abetting Thomas in the robbery she denied the charge and said "I was going to the pawnshop, and as I was going I kicked the purse with my foot and picked it up; if I had knowa that it had been stolen, I should have brought it to the station;" I answered "you must have come past the man, and known he had been robbed she replied, "d I did not, but I saw the crowd of people there."— Charlotte Powell said she lived in Ivy Bush-lane, neap where the affair took place hearing a noise she went out, and saw prosecutor and prisoner Thomas against the wall, the former charging her with robbing him a she then saw the prisoner Jones walking off, and cried out "Susan, you have tbettirse, so -don't let anybody else get the blame Susan stopped, and at that moment P.S. Rees came up and obtained the pursa from her after he had left them she came to. witness's house and comphinerl that there were worse girls in Merthyr than anywhere to keep each other's counsel; if everything had been kept quiet, they might have shared the money between them. -This conversation was sub- stantially corroborated by a little boy named John Thomas, who was in the house at the time.—Both prisoners denied the charge, and were committed for trial at the next quarter sessions.But for the timely arrival of P.S. Rees, there can be no doubt that the money contained in the purse would have undergone a process of liquifaction before many hours had passed over the heads of its possessors. Joseph Vaughan, charged last week with assaulting a woman with whom he cohabited, was to-day sentenced to 21 (lays' hard labour. William Keddart, a haulier in the employ of the Dowlais Iron Company, was charged with fraudulently disposing of a load of coal belonging to them, on Wed. nesday last.—Mr. F. James prosecuted for the com-t pany Mr. Simons defended the prisoner.—From the evidence of WilHam Richards, weigher, the facts of- the case appeared thus Prisoner is:a haulier under the Dowlais Iron Company, and has been for the last nine yeors on Wednesday evening last he took away aloftd of coal from the upper yard, consigned to Mr. Geo. Houlson, and instead of delivering it to Mr. Houlson, he took it to another party, to whom he sold it for the sum which Mr. Houlson would have had to pay for it. When he returned to the yard on the following morning he appears not to have informed the weigher, from whom he received his orders, of the circumstance, and the non-delivery of the coal became known to the offfr. cials through the haulier's book carried by the prisoner not bearing the signature of Mr. Houlson, which waa necessary to show that the coal had been received by him. When questioned, Keddart admitted that he had disposed of the coal to another party, but wished it to be charged to himself, and he would deliver another load to Mr. Houlson.—Tn defence Mr. Simons urged that the mode of procedure adopted by the prisoner stripped the case of all semblance of felonious intent. The state of the book prisoner carried with him would, of itself be strong evidence of the absence of animus in the man's mind he did not attempt to show that the coal had been delivered to Mr. Houlson, but being conscious of having committed an irregularity be became anxious to: rectify it, and aimed at doing it without the know. ledge of the company's agents. It appeared that when prisoner got to Mr. Houlson's there was no person at home to receive the coal; prisoner knew there was a, load due to him at the time, and in order to meet the exigency of the occasion he took to the load originally intended for Mr. Houlson. and disposed of it at prime cost, purposing to take another load to Mr Houlson on the following- day in lieu thereof. If lie had got some- boay to write Mr. Houlson's name in the receiving column of the book, the case would have assumed a, different aspect, but under the present circumstances he contended that it was an irregularity and not a felony. -The magistrates held a consultation with the clerfe and afterwards, with the consent of the attornies, im. posed a fine of £1 on the prisoner, who paid it and was discharged.—During the hearing much was said respect- ing the coal from the upper yard and that from the lower yard, the: former being the depot from which the agents are furnished, the workman getting their sup- plies .from the lower yard. The upper yard, it seema, sends out coal of a superior quality to that delivered to the workmen, who obtain theirs exclusively from the lower yard. Wages.—John Stephens v. David Williams.— Claim, £ 1 9s. Id. Dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Jane Jones i\ Evan Roberts.— Charge of assaulting a boy.—Adjourned to Wednesday for the appearance of defendant. "Wednesday.—(Before J. C. Fowler, Eiq.) David Evans, was charged with wandering abroad and having no visible means of support.—P. S. Howlett found him his morning sleeping in a moulding ship at the Dowlais Works. The prisoner had been convicted about 20 times for a similar offence, and was a great nusiance to the Company, and also to the workmen, whose food he was in the hatvit of stfatinar. Committed for three months to Ca: diff, with hard labour. James Richard Williams, landlord of the Pelican Inn, Dowlais, was charaed with having his house open on Sunday morning at hiif-past eight o'clock, and five men in drinking. This being the third similar offence this year, he was fined 40s. and 8s. 9d. costs. Benjamin Philips, of the Lamb and Fmg, Dowlais was charged with selling from three to tour quarts of beer, at a quarter to one o'clock on Sunday morning, P.S. Rowe proved seeing a man come out with the quantit.y of beer named in a tin jack.—Fined i:8. and 8s. 9d. costs. Elizabeth Davies, landlady of the Llwynyreos public house, Abercanaid, was charged with allowing drunk. enness in her house on Wednesday week.—P.C. Morgan said lie was called to the above house, where a great number of men were quarrelling «ntl fighting outside the house, and in the house he salviwenty three men all drunk and making a great noise.—ror the defence Mr, Jenkins, a brewer, was called who swore there wereoaly "ix men in the house at the time the policeman went in. The P.C. stated that this witness was so drunk at the time, that he had to hold by the side ot the door while he was talking to him, also that the witness met hitn next day at the Troedvrhiw railway station, when he remarked to the P.C. that was a tremendous row yes. terday at Abenanaid," witness denied seeing the police- man on that day.—-Th? case, in vi-w of the conflicting evidence, was adjourned till Siturcay for the production of a witness to prove that Jenkins had spoken to the policeman at the railway station, and which he now denied. John Lloyd was fined 5s. and 2s. ûd. costs, for being drunk and riotous in Peny,larren; and John B trnett and Daniel AlcChroan, charged with being drunk and fighting in Dowlais, on Sunday mbrning, were each fined 5s. and 5". costs. Wiham Shean, landlord of the Golden Lion, Merthyr, was charged by P.S. Janus with haviue his house open on Sunday morning, and three men therein, aniihe also saw the lanlllord rati into the ce.'l.r with a tin'jick con- taining beer newly drawn.—Fined os. and 8-v yd. costs. John D.ivies, landlord ot the Bute Anus, Dowlais, was charged with having his house open at a quarter-past twelve on Sunday, and a man in with p pint of beer before him.—The defendant said he and his wile were from home that day, and it was tha servant that had served the beer.—P.S. Howlett said me !ioii<e was gene- rally barJly conducted. —Fined 10. and 8s. IJd. costs. John Hewitt, a smart looking irishinanpwas Oned 5s. and 5s. costs, tor being drunk and fighting in Cross- street, Dowlais, on Sunday afternoon. 1, Martin Wheelan, an old malt, was charged with being drunk and riotous in Dynevor-street, and threatening P.C. Fowler.-Fined 5s. and 2, Gd. costs. George Bahington was charged with illegally pledging a couch, alleged to have been the property of David Hart, Glebeland-street, Merihyr, under a bi l of sale.- Mr. W. H. Harries proved wituessing the signature upon the bilt- of sale.—The defendant pleaded »liis own case, and objected to Mr. Hart's riglft of ownership of the coujh at the time he pledged it, which jvas on the 22nd of august, as he had given the defendant until the 20rh of October to pay the money hu..owed Ar. 'Hart.- The magistrate considered there was a very great doubt in the case, and he should take time to consider vAfthep Mr. Hart was the legal owner of the property or not, at the time it was pledged. -Case adjourned to Saturday accordingly.